I could not be more excited about today’s recipe! I feel like it’s the perfect segway from autumn into the Christmas season, and on top of that it’s the ideal dish to bring to a potluck or party, it does not require baking (I’m giving you tasty recipes and saving you energy, how ’bout that, huh), and it is so freakin’ delicious. I am almost jumping in my seat as I’m typing this.
I brought these Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars to my friend’s last week, to celebrate decorating her Christmas tree, and it got rave reviews. She didn’t mind that it was vegan because it was so irresistible. (In fact, she usually gobbles up whatever sweets I give her.) All you’ll taste is a delicate blend of Christmas spices, creamy pumpkin and cashew, and that sweet, moreish gingerbread cookie base made from Speculoos biscuits, traditional Belgian delicacies that I grew up eating.
I made these Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars with three of my favourite baking products: Sweet Freedom Original and Dark fruit-based syrups, and Choc Shot, made by the same company. Sweet Freedom sweeteners are made from natural ingredients (apple, grape and carob) so they taste like regular sugar but in fact contain 25% fewer calories. If you need to watch your GI/GL intake, this is the perfect sweetener for you.
Sweet Freedom Original tastes a bit like agave or any white-sugar based syrup, but it’s lighter and milder than maple syrup. For me, that makes it the ideal product to use in everyday baking and sweet treats. On the other hand, Sweet Freedom Dark has a more distinctive flavour, almost like treacle (that’s what we call molasses in the UK).
Choc Shot is my sweet chocolate sauce of choice when I can’t be bothered to make my own. You’ll be surprised to know it contains only 14 calories per teaspoon (!!!) but like the Original and Dark sweeteners it is made 100% of natural ingredients. A bottle never lasts longer than a week in my house because I drizzle this over my porridge, my pancakes, I use it to make hot chocolates, or I just eat it straight off the spoon. No shame.
Sweet Freedom products are also free of GMO’s and gluten, and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
I used all three products to make these Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars, and the result was way beyond my highest hopes. Creamy, sinlessly sweet, delicately spiced, addictive — in short, the perfect recipe to bring to a Christmas party this year. Both young and old, vegan and omnivores will love these treats and come back begging for more.
Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot Drizzle
For the crust:
200g (7 oz) Speculoos biscuits
3 tbsp vegan butter
For the filling:
1 425g (15 oz) tin/can of pumpkin puree
2 cups (280g) raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp Sweet Freedom Dark
1 tbsp Sweet Freedom Original
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Choc Shot to drizzle over the finished cheesecake
1. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits to a fine powder. Add the butter and pulse a few more times to combine; the texture should resemble wet sand and start clumping together. Alternatively, you can rub the ground biscuits and butter together in a large bowl, using your fingers.
2. Press the crust mix into the bottom of a 20 x 13 cm ( 8 x 5.5 inches) rectangular tin, making sure it is completely even. Place in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
3. Blend half of the cashews with all of the remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. When the mixture starts to look creamy and evenly blended, add the remaining cashews little by little; adding them all at once along with the other ingredients could stall your blender/food processor, especially since the filling needs to be very thick.
4. When the filling is nice and thick and creamy, pour it over the cheesecake crust. Smooth over the top with a spatula to make it even. Chill in the fridge overnight, or at least a couple of hours in the freezer to set completely.
5. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the cheesecake into 8 evenly-shaped bars. Place these on a plate and drizzle over with Choc Shot. Enjoy!
These bars keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or for a couple of months in the freezer.
Are you going to any Christmas parties this year? What are you bringing as a dish to share? I’d love to know if you’ve got any tips about hosting or taking part in a mixed vegan and omnivore dinner party!
Psst — there are only 13 days till Christmas! Get my ebook THE VEGAN COOKIE FAIRY’S CHRISTMAS RECIPESon Amazon to have the best vegan Christmas ever. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates and follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sweet Freedom, who kindly provided me with some of their products, but as always all opinions are my own, and I mean every word I say.